The perfect beef pie

1lb braising beef

Small handful of dried

porcini, steeped for 10

minutes in boiling water

8 button mushrooms, sliced

Mushroom ketchup

8 small shallots, peeled

1 stick celery

2 garlic cloves, peeled

and sliced

Sprinkle of plain flour, salt and pepper, groundnut oil and butter

pint red wine

Fresh thyme, bay leaves, chopped parsley

Pack of puff pastry (or make your own)

1 beaten egg

Heat 1tbsp oil in a heavy casserole dish and brown the meat. Set aside. Add shallots to pan (with more oil, if needed) and brown. Turn down heat, add celery, garlic and half the butter. Sear until floppy. Return meat and any juices. Season, sprinkle with flour and stir until coated. Add cut-up porcini and their liquid, red wine, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then cover and cook in the oven on a low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Cook mushrooms in rest of butter and add to casserole with parsley and a splash of mushroom ketchup. Fill a pie dish with meat (any left over will double as beef stew). Top with rolled-out puff pastry (leaving vent held up by little pie blackbird) and brush with beaten egg. Bake in medium-hot oven for 35 minutes or until pastry is golden.

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